In Mind in a Physical World (1998), Jaegwon Kim has recently extended his ongoing critique of `non-reductive materialist' positions in philosophy of mind by arguing that Nagel's model of reduction is the wrong paradigm in terms of which to contest the issue of psychophysical reduction, and that an altogether different model of scientific reduction – a functional model of reduction – is needed. In this paper I argue, first, that Kim's conception of the Nagelian model is substantially impoverished and potentially (...) misleading; second, that his own functional model is problematic in several respects; and, third, that the basic idea underlying his functional model can well be accommodated within a properly reinterpreted Nagelian model. I conclude with some reflections on the issue of psychophysical reduction. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that Kim’s ‚supervenience argument’ is at best inconclusive and so fails to provide an adequate challenge to nonreductive physicalism. I shall argue, first, that Kim’s argument rests on assumptions that the nonreductive physicalist is entitled to regard as question-begging; second, that even if those assumptions are granted, it is not clear that irreducible mental causes fail to␣satisfy them; and, third, that since the argument has the overall structure of a reductio, which of (...) its various premises one performs the reductio on remains open to debate in an interesting way. I shall finally suggest that the issue of reductive vs. nonreductive physicalism is best contested not in the arena of mental causation but in that in which the issues pertaining to theory and property reduction are currently being debated. (shrink)
A number of philosophers—among them Joseph Levine, David Chalmers, Frank Jackson and Jaegwon Kim—have claimed that there are conceptual grounds sufficient for ruling out the possibility of a reductive explanation of phenomenal consciousness. Their claim assumes a functional model of reduction (regarded by Kim as an alternative to the traditional Nagelian model) which requires an a priori entailment from the facts in the reduction base to the phenomena to be explained. The aim of this paper is to show that this (...) is an unreasonable requirement—a requirement that no reductive explanation in science should be expected to satisfy. I argue that the functional model is not substantively different from the Nagelian model properly understood, and that the question whether consciousness is reductively explainable—in a sense involving property identifications or in some weaker sense compatible with Nagelian reduction—is a fundamentally empirical question, not one that can be settled on conceptual grounds alone. 1. Introduction2. Kim's critique of the Nagelian model of reduction3. The functional model of reduction4. Is consciousness reducible?5. Psychophysical reduction: concluding remarks. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim and others have claimed that (strong) psychophysical supervenience entails the reducibility of mental properties to physical properties. I argue that this claim is unwarranted with respect to epistemic (explanatory) reducibility (either of a global or of a local sort), as well as with respect to ontological reducibility. I then attempt to show that a robust version of nonreductive materialism (which I call supervenient token-physicalism) can be defended against the charge that nonreductive materialism leads to epiphenomenalism in failing to (...) account for the causal or explanatory relevance of mental properties. (shrink)
The aim of Stich's book is to further the controversial thesis that the conceptual framework of ‘folk’ psychology will have no significant role to play in a mature cognitive science. Skepticism about the scientific relevance of folk psychology has been voiced by others ; but Stich's critique is both novel and more fully developed than earlier ones. The charge is not–-or not simply–-that ‘folk theory’ is a “degenerating paradigm“, or that, in general, the constructs of folk theory fail to refer (...) altogether. Stich's thesis is subtler, and rests on the claim that the individuation of folk-psychological states is irremediably vague and context-and-observer relative in a way that makes a folk-psychological taxonomy ill-suited to the requirements of scientific explanation and systematization. Stich, of course, does not reject mentalism as such, as did the behaviorists: he merely rejects the assumption–-often tacitly accepted by cognitive scientists and by their philosophical interpreters–-that the mental states posited by a mature cognitive science will essentially correspond to the intentional, propositional attitude states of folk psychology. Thus, for Stich, there is no reason to suppose that cognitive science will turn out to be a sophisticated extension of folk psychology. The “Panglossian prospect” of a conceptual reunification of the scientific image of mind with the ‘manifest’ image under the banner of cognitivism is just what this book calls into question. (shrink)
In this paper I examine Jaegwon Kim’s view that emergent properties are irreducible to the base properties on which they supervene. Kim’s view assumes a model of ‘functional reduction’ which he claims to be substantially different from the traditional Nagelian model. I dispute this claim and argue that the two models are only superficially different, and that on either model, properly understood, it is possible to draw a distinction between a property’s being reductively identifiable with its base property and a (...) property’s being reductively explainable in terms of it. I propose that we should take as the distinguishing feature of emergent properties that they be truly novel properties, i.e., ontologically distinct from the ‘base’ properties which they supervene on. This only requires that emergent properties cannot be reductively identified with their base properties, not that they cannot be reductively explained in terms of them. On this conception the set of emergent properties may well include mental properties as conceived by nonreductive physicalists. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to defend a version of nonreductive materialism against the epiphenomenalist objection to which Davidson's anomalous monism has often been held to be vulnerable. After considering a number of options for dealing with the objection, I argue that an appeal to the notion of strong supervenience (properly explicated) can both rebut a common form of the "property" ("type") epiphenomenalist objection and provide a grounding for the causal relevance ("efficacy") of mental properties.
Chisholm, R. M. Sentences about believing.--Cornman, J. W. Intentionality and intensionality.--Marras, A. Intentionality and cognitive sentences.--Chisholm, R. M. Notes on the logic of believing.--Luce, D. R., Sleigh, R. C., and Chisholm, R. M. Discussion on "Notes on the logic of believing."--Lycan, W. G. On intentionality and the psychological.--Hempel, C. G. Logical analysis of psychology.--Carnap, R. Logical foundations of the unity of science.--Nagel, T. Physicalism.--Ryle, G. Dispositions.--Sellars, W. Empiricism and the philosophy of mind.--Chisholm, R. M. and Sellars, W. The Chisholm-Sellars correspondence (...) on intentionality.--Aune, B. Thinking.--Bergmann, G. Intentionality.--Sellars, W. Notes on intentionality.--Frege, G. On sense and nominatum.--Russell, B. On denoting.--Carnap, R. The analysis of belief sentences.--Putnam, H. Synonymity, and the analysis of belief sentences.--Quine, W. V. O. Quantifiers and propositional attitudes.--Linsky, L. Substitutivity and descriptions.--Hintikka, J. Semantics for propositional attitudes.--Rosenthal, D. M. and Sellars, W. The Rosenthal-Sellars correspondence on intentionality.--Bibliography (p. 505-523). (shrink)
Qualia are phenomenal properties of sensations and perceptual states: they are whatever it is that gives such states their “felt,” qualitative character. (In speaking of sensations, I speak of course not of mental objects or mental contents, but of mental events—of sensings, not sensa.).
An important aspect of Sellars' philosophy is his attempt to explicate the concept of thought on the "model" of the concept of speech. More specifically, Sellars has argued that the intentionality of "inner" episodes or thoughts is to be understood in terms of the "semantical" characteristics of intelligent linguistic behavior, and not the other way around as the "classical tradition" had supposed.To avoid misunderstanding, it is important to realize that Sellars' claim, as he explains, in Aristotelian terminology, is a claim (...) "in the order of conceiving" as contrasted with "the order of being." That is, Sellars accepts, as an integral part of his theory, the classical claim that meaningful speech is the manifestation or overt causal expression of ''inner" thoughts, but argues that our concept of such thoughts is a derivative concept, a concept which, in the order of theoretical reconstruction, is "modelled on," is an analogical extension of, the concept of meaningful linguistic behavior. (shrink)
As part of his ongoing critique of metaphysical realism, Hilary Putnam has recently argued that current materialist theories of mind that locate mental phenomena in the brain can make no sense of the proposed identifications of mental states with physical (or physical cum computational) states, or of the supervenience of mental properties with physical properties. The aim of this paper is to undermine Putnam's objections and reassert the intelligibility – and perhaps the plausibility – of some form of mind-body identity (...) and supervenience. (shrink)
The flurry of debates on mental causation in recent years has largely been occasioned by Donald Davidson's original and controversial views on the role of mind in the causation and explanation of behaviour. In his classic 1963 paper, “Actions, Reasons, and Causes,” Davidson argued, against the prevailing opinion of the Ryleans and later-Wittgensteineans, that in order to be genuinely explanatory of human behaviour, reasons must be causes; and in his equally influential and far more controversial 1970 paper, “Mental Events,” he (...) undertook to show how reasons can be causes—how it is possible for our beliefs, desire, intentions, and the like, in terms of which we “rationalize” our behaviour, to be at the same time causes of our behaviour. While the basic thesis of the 1963 paper was widely accepted, setting a trend for much of the work on action theory for the following three decades, the account of the causal efficacy of mind in “Mental Events” generated a great deal of controversy. The debates continue, involving scores of participants but seldom Davidson himself. What makes the present collection of previously unpublished papers particularly interesting is that it contains Davidson's own reply to some of his most notable critics, together with their rejoinders; so we now have a contemporary perspective on the mental causation debate that Davidson initiated, unwittingly, a quarter of a century ago. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is provide a reassessment of Nonreductive Physicalism (NP) as a position in philosophy of mind in view of influential critiques of some of its central assumptions and implications. First, I undertake to explicate NP’s foundational concepts and metaphysical commitments in the attempt to establish NP’s internal coherence. Second, I defend NP against an attempt to discredit its theoretical plausibility by responding to what is perhaps the most powerful argument against NP, namely, Jaegwon Kim’s argument to (...) the effect that the very principles of NP commit NP to epiphenomenalism. (shrink)
This paper addresses a recent argument of the Churchlands against the "linguistic-rationalist" tradition exemplified by current cognitive-computational psychology. Because of its commitment to methodological solipsism--the argument goes--computational psychology cannot provide an account of how organisms are able to represent and "hook up to" the world. First I attempt to determine the exact nature of this charge and its relation to the Churchlands' long-standing polemic against 'folk psychology' and the linguistic-rationalist methodology. I then turn my attention to the Churchlands' account of (...) what it is for computational psychology to be methodologically solipsistic. I argue that there is no reason to suppose that methodological solipsism commits one to a purely syntactic theory of the mind (of the kind that Stephen Stich has recently advocated): the formality constraints that methodological solipsism imposes on psychological explanation do not exclude 'essential' reference to the representational content of mental states, as long as this content is construed in the 'narrow' sense. I conclude by raising a problem for computational psychology that may provide some real cause for concern. (shrink)